The supports in this category are provided by specialist health workers who have the training and experience needed to effectively manage difficult behaviour, or what the NDIS refers to as “behaviours of concern.” Providers will work with each individual participant to develop a plan tailored to that person’s specific needs. The main goal is to minimise the incidence of these behaviours, as well as to minimise the use of restraint to curb them.
Rather than simply reacting to difficult behaviour, Specialist Positive Behaviour Support works to understand and address the underlying causes of that behaviour, so that it can be prevented or moderated.
A major aspect of behaviour support is respect for the participant’s autonomy and freedom. That’s why “restrictive practices” are avoided as much as possible. The NDIS gives five examples of restrictive practices:
Seclusion: the forced confinement of participants in a room or space so that their freedom of movement is limited and they cannot leave of their own accord.
Chemical restraint: the use of medication or another chemical substance. Medication prescribed by a medical professional for the treatment of mental disorder is not included in this definition.
Mechanical restraint: the use of a mechanical device to limit a person’s freedom of movement. Devices used for therapeutic reasons are not included.
Physical restraint: the use of physical force to restrict a person’s freedom of movement. “Reflexive” use of physical contact to prevent harm or injury to a participant is not included.
Environmental restraint: the restriction of a person’s access to their surroundings (e.g. items and activities).
The techniques listed above are only considered restrictive practices when they are used to influence a person’s behaviour.
The NDIS lists the following professions as being suited to Specialist Positive Behaviour Support:
- Occupational Therapist
- Social Worker
- Other health professionals